Don’t Get Mad at the First Word, Anne

Hissbitch the way only a blonde with freckles can be, soft

As August rain, weeps at her friends’ weddings

Watches the face of the groom during the vows, motionless,

Still hard enough to laugh at Slutwalk and tell the young women dressed like tarts

They really do play a part, despite her years of social work indoctrination

To allow all the autonomy and none of the responsibility to

Well, we don’t call them victims, she agrees with that part,

But she’s been punched in the face and shrugs it off

As part of the contact sport of dreary days gone

with nothing but a Keith Richards and a Stevie Nicks soundtrack remaining

Which was a part of her cool cat past,

She might’ve made a valentine

out of black cassette tape

Stapled it to her long wool coat

Along the hem, where no one could see it drag in the dirt

Where it belongs with love from the angry playas she used to sweat.

She sleeps like a cat, drowses throughout the painful day, ridden by migraines

A profound sensitivity to light and misunderstanding or slight

Or view of the future, from where she’s standing, with the bills in her hands

A collection of black ribbon and Spanish silver coin chokers on her neck

A perfect body she never registers except in the lust of her husband.

A quote by Desmond Tutu can sustain her

For a week.  She can cop to the dreariness of motherhood, yet cups her hands

Over the secret of how fiercely she loves her son

How light and warmth make her laugh ring in the sky, yet she cocoons

More often in a dim safe cave where the wine-colored oriental rug is the only symbol

Lying around which exactly describes her mood, how sincerely

She wants to grow in love and light, yet it is a battle of her nerves, her ability to eat food,

 Even to hear words like that, without doing a smackdown on the fool who believes,

Over the course of more than a sidelong stolen look, such things can be hers.

She isn’t melancholy, but dazzling, rich, delighted, full of warmth, or—

Drawn, exhausted, pained from nerve to nerve.  She can still take a hit,

Now instead of junk or fists, it is bullshit or tragedy, and you won’t find her

Tenderly reinventing her extreme realities, she stands right where she is,

Either in a desert or a flood slogging through with an umbrella or an oar,

Nearby, holding her eyes with their eyes:  her gangster husband and her son.

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One thought on “Don’t Get Mad at the First Word, Anne

  1. Another poignant shock – portrait of a character in a situation, which is what all prophecy is actually about. One needs to read this poem several times to soak in the details and the order of the plangent flow of things. Life, abundantly.

    Like

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